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Comparing Sociodemographic Factors Associated with Disability Between Immigrants and the Chilean-Born: Are There Different Stories to Tell?

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph9124403

Keywords: migrant population, disability, population-based study, social epidemiology, Latin America

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This study explored a range of sociodemographic factors associated with disability among international immigrants in Chile, and compared them to the Chilean-born. Secondary data analysis of the Chilean population-based survey CASEN-2006 was conducted (268,873 participants). Main health outcomes: any disability and six different types of disability: visual, hearing, learning, physical, psychiatric and speaking (binary outcomes). Sociodemographic variables: Demographic factors (age, sex, marital status, urban/rural, ethnicity), socioeconomic status (SES: income, education, employment status, and an integrated indicator combining the SES measures through cluster analysis for the immigrant population), material factors (overcrowding, sanitation, housing quality) and migration related (country of origin and length of stay). Immigrants reported a significantly lower prevalence of any disability (3.55%), visual (1.00%) and physical disability (0.38%). Factors associated with any disability among immigrants were age, low SES or over 20 years duration of residence in Chile; while a range of sociodemographic factors were associated with disability in the Chilean-born. Conditional regression models by age group varied between populations, but SES remained significantly associated with disability across immigrants and the Chilean-born. However, there are no similar patterns of factors associated to different types of disability between the populations under study. Factors associated with disability varied between populations under study, but SES showed a consistent association with any disability in immigrants and the Chilean-born. Types of disability showed different patterns of factors associated to them between populations, which suggest the great complexity of underlying mechanisms related to disability in Chile.


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